Android devices are a reliable, powerful companion for heavy business users. The operating system continues to improve, so here’s our take on some of the best business apps available in the Android Market. Our list is by no means exhaustive, but we at least wanted to share the news: Android, more than ever, is a great bet for business users.
Before you even start planning for that meeting, slideshow or presentation, you’ll need to get your travels in order first. Fortunately, the Android platform offers numerous apps to help you along. Kayak helps you book flights, hotels and cars and organize your itinerary. Other big-name players in the area like Orbitz and Priceline also have a presence on Android devices these days.
Many of the top national and international airlines are well represented in the Android marketplace. British Airways, Southwest Airlines, Delta, American Airlines and others all offer handy apps for your business travel needs, some with useful features like mobile boarding passes.
Once you’ve booked your flight, car and hotel, TripIt is an indispensable tool for the business traveler. It keeps all your pertinent itinerary information at hand, saving you the hassle of trawling through your already-overflowing inbox to look for that important reservation email.
There’s plenty of name-brand apps to keep you up-to-date on the latest business news, whether you want analysis or the latest stock market quotes. Yahoo! has long been the top finance web site on the Internet and the Yahoo! Finance app doesn’t disappoint either with its news analysis, stock tickers and personalization features.
Bloomberg is another respected source with business/finance news, market data and stock tracking tools, and Android offers apps from other major finance big-wigs like CNBC and Google Finance. More trading-oriented apps from companies like E*Trade and Fidelity Investments are also available, so you have no excuse to not keep up with your portfolio.
There are many other VoIP apps in the Android marketplace which offer free video calling or instant messaging. However, if you want something a little more business focused, Cisco WebEx Meetings allows for mobile web conferencing over both 3G and Wi-Fi connections, so you can attend that important meeting wherever you are.
Also, if your Android’s built-in GMail client isn’t getting the job done, there are other email apps that can handle and organize your corporate mailboxes better. K-9 Mail is an open source client that’s free and powerful enough to manage all your email. Supporting IMAP, POP3 and Exchange 2003/2007, K-9 includes push capabilities, multi-folder syncing, and search functions.
Business Contacts & Networking
Met new business clients with whom you want to stay in touch? Try Bump. This innovative app allows you to simply bump two phones together to share photos, contacts, and apps, which is a truly efficient way to do business... providing you both have the app on your respective devices of course.
If you find yourself snowed-under with business cards, CamCard Lite is a useful Android app to have around, too. Snap a shot of the card with your phone’s camera and the information is automatically transferred to your device and saved as a contact. The app is free, but if you try it and find it indispensable, $6.99 is a small price to pay for CamCard (BCR Western), which only recognizes Western languages, or $11.99 for CamCard Business Card Reader, which can handle other alphabets like Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
LinkedIn remains in beta, but should hopefully arrive in the Android Market soon. This essential tool for professional social networking is the ideal way to keep track of business contacts old and new as well as offering group discussions, job opportunities and other important ways to stay connected.
With Documents to Go you can view Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files all in a single app. Upgrade to the full version, and you can edit and create them on your Android device. Meanwhile, Quickoffice ConnectMobileSuite is a $9.99 option with similar functionality that also allows easy access and sharing among your colleagues.
Speaking of sharing, an app like Dropbox is invaluable for the hardcore Android business user too. With its ability to sync files across multiple computers, share them and view them from anywhere, Dropbox’s massive popularity demonstrates it’s the best in its class when it comes to sharing files and documents.
But what if you need to share a vital paper document or contract with your boss? Sure, a photo might work reasonably well, but it’s not necessarily efficient. Document Scanner Trial turns your Android device into a scanner which can take a document and convert into a PDF for easy viewing. Just under $4.00 gets you the full version, and extra add-ons in the Market can help you get the best out of this app. Also, look out for Scan2PDF Mobile and Scan2PDF Mobile 2.0. Both offer similar functionality in case you want to try an alternative app.
Business Expenses & Finances
Heavy business users can track their spending with the ProOnGo Expense app. You can easily track your expenses, store receipts, track mileage, log time, and sync your credit cards with this useful app.
If you’re a small business owner and need more detailed analysis of your revenue, Sales Tracker helps you balance the books and export all those values to email or a CSV file. Meanwhile, Square allows you to accept credit cards on your Android device with no contract, monthly fees, or merchant account required, once coupled with the free card reader offered by the company after you sign-up.